Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Short overview of Practice 3 Classroom teacher Paul Anderson gives a short overview of Practice 3.

NSTA Webinar This webinar uses Blackboard Collaborate when playing. It will not harm your computer. If your computer prompts you, you will need to "accept" to allow playback. Alternatively, you can listen to the webcast as a podcast. You can access the podcast using the same link to the NSTA webinar. This webinar was created before the final version of NGSS was available. However, the information presented is still pertinent and accurate.

Ready, Set, Science!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms Please read pages 72-75. An elementary school classroom (grades 3-5) is described. The teacher is deepening student understanding by conducting whole class investigations. Discussion and debate (practice 7) are also evident. Although this section of the book is focused on learning progressions, the teacher's skill in guiding the whole class through this investigation provides us with a great illustration.

It is sometimes difficult to move from traditional "cookbook labs" to actual student research. Cookbook labs usually have students follow a set procedure and the results (the right answers) are already predetermined. Practice 3 is really trying to get students to design the investigation.

One possibility is to conduct a "cookbook lab" as a whole class and then have the students pick one thing (one variable) that they can change. For example, I created a video describing to students the step-by-step procedure to extract essential oils from plants to make potpourri or perfume. I then used a process to turn the essential oils lab into inquiry by having the students pick one variable to manipulate. The teacher version and the student version of the lab can be found as Photo Story videos here. On the same webpage you can find the process that I used in an article called "Turning the Essential Oils Lab into Inquiry".